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tv   ABC World News With Diane Sawyer  ABC  August 14, 2012 5:30pm-6:00pm PDT

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we appreciate your time and we'll see you at 6:00. tonight on "world news" -- red alert, 60 blazes raging out west and raising ahead at 60 miles per hour. a woman on the back porch takes home video of the blaze bearing down on her. and what went wrong for this young firefighter who came to the front lines to help? war of words as the newcomer paul ryan campaigns. the vice president has to explain his words. >> we're going to put y'all back in chains. >> and what hot potato did the president pick up no one thought he would? dream ride, our reporter's driving affected by the sleeping pill ambien. what happens as the hours pass by on sleeping pills? and pardon the interruption, cell phones sounding off everywhere. even here, live on "world news."
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good evening. as we come on the air, the long hot summer of 2012 has a big stretch of the west ablaze. here is the map. wildfires in ten states, 62 fires, flames 52 feet high. families on the run. and an area the size of new jersey has become scorched dirt. already, a young firefighter, a 20-year-old woman has died battling a blaze. we'll tell what you we learned about what went wrong as new pictures stream in from the front lines and abc's neal karlinsky tracks it all. >> reporter: cle elum, washington is a town on the edge. rhonda griffin spent the day putting out hotspots after a terrifying night captured on home video, watching the garage and shop next to her house burn to the ground. somehow, even though every bit of land around her burned, her home survived. >> look at this, and then turn around and look at this.
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they don't even go together. i mean, it's like somebody drew a line right here. the lord did it. >> reporter: the fire moved with incredible speed, blowing up from hundreds to thousands of acres in just hours and nearly overrunning this sanctuary for rescued lab chimps. today, staff say the chimps are scared, but out of danger. >> they were running. if you were caught in the wrong place, you were getting in and bugging out. >> you had a sleepless night? >> we had a very sleepless night. >> reporter: when we met tricia roghair, her husband and father-in-law were asleep in the living room after a night battling the flames with garden hoses. bone dry conditions, extreme heat and even dry lightening have scorched dozens of miles across utah, oregon, and northern california this week as well. in the danger zone, wildland firefighters facing one of their deadliest years on record, 11 killed in the line of duty so far this year. many of them are young seasonal workers like 20-year-old
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anne voseth, an energetic college student who finished high school with a 3.9 grade point average, killed in idaho by a falling tree. a constant threat after fire ravages a forest. a fire safety officer we met today says, even though the work is dangerous, young firefighters are closely watched to make sure they don't get into deadly trouble. >> firefighting is inherently dangerous. so we have many eyes looking around making sure everybody's safe. >> at least 60 structures burned and firefighters have essentially zero containment on this fire. even more worrisome, conditions are expected to be even hotter later this week. diane. >> all right. neal karlinsky reporting the smoke behind him and from the fire lines to the campaign trail now. all four candidates full throttle today. the president came out swinging. the vice president caused a dustup. it's "your voice your vote" and abc's david muir reports in from the battleground state of ohio tonight. david. >> reporter: that's right,
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diane, we're in ohio where mitt romney will speak a short time from now. you can see the crowd gathered here behind me. mitt romney, his new running mate, paul ryan out on the trail today. the president and vice president, joe biden out, too. and what they said, some argued, turned personal today. the war of words began early today, the debate over how to produce energy and jobs. mitt romney in coal company taking on the president. >> i see how he's been waging war on coal. >> reporter: president obama on wind power, in high what, blasting romney, and today going there for the first time. talking about that story that's followed mitt romney where he strapped the dog to the roof of the car while driving the family on vacation. >> that's what shed about wind power. you can't drive a car with a windmill on it. now, i don't know if he's actually tried that. i know he's had other things on his car. >> reporter: the president in fact bringing up the story of the dog later today and while
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romney's number two paul ryan took on the president in colorado, it was what vice president joe biden said in danville, virginia, that the romney campaign quickly argued was a new low. >> he's going to let the big banks once again write the rules. unchain wall street. they're going to put y'all back in chains. >> reporter: they say unartfully phrased that republicans have used a similar metaphor, unshackle the private sector. as their every word is now dissected, we've now learned the republican who doesn't mince words will give the keynote at the republican convention. the coveted woe going to new jersey governor chris christie. which christie will we see? the bold -- >> bring our country together, stop dividing, mr. president. >> reporter: or the bombastic. >> your railroad is going to get
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thrown in jail, you idiot. >> reporter: i want to give you an idea of the crowd gathered here over my shoulder. the crowds have begun to swell, particularly over the announcement of the new running mate both on the republican side and the democratic side, the president and vice president showing a divided electorate and one that's getting very engaged on this race, diane. >> thanks so much, david. and an issue everyone is talking about tonight is medicare and paul ryan's controversial plan to change the program. republicans called the change a life line for medicare. democrats say it will end medicare as we know it. so we asked abc's jon karl for a reality check on the plan and what it would change for each of us. >> reporter: the first thing you need to know about the ryan plan is this, it does not apply to anybody who is now 55 years old or older. today's seniors stay in the current system. for everyone else, the biggest change is that instead of
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automatically getting government health coverage when you turn 65, you'll have to go out and shop for your own insurance. to start, the amount would be pegged to cost of medicare, now approximately $15,000 a year. wealthy seniors get a smaller amount, the poor and the sick, a larger amount. you choose from a menu of private but government-approved health plans. one of your options would also be traditional government-run medicare. the prices of those plans would vary. more coverage costs more money. for any plan that costs over $15,000, you pay the difference. if your plan costs less, you get cash back. for example, if the plan you choose costs $14,000, you get a check in the mail for $1,000. the amount you get to buy health insurance will rise slightly each year at a rate just over inflation. will that be enough for you to pay for health insurance? only if health care costs stop rising as fast as they've been rising. ryan believes costs will come down because insurance companies will have to compete to get your medicare dollars. that's possible. but there's no guarantee.
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jonathan karl, abc news, washington. up next, our consumer watchdog report. we have learned that thousands of cars on the road right now are failing a brand-new kind of crash test. the common accident, often deadly. abc's senior national correspondent jim avila tells us which cars and why. >> reporter: the corner crash. when your car hits a power pole, another vehicle at the front fender today is responsible for 25% of america's 10,000 fatal head-on crashes each year. >> it just involves the front corner of the vehicle. it misses the strong energy absorbing structure that's in the middle. >> reporter: today the insurance institute releasing stunning, first of its kind crash tests, dramatically showing that most cars need more protection at the corners. of the 11 cars tested, all of only three passed, the rest
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suffered horrendous damage that sent the test dummies banging into hard surfaces. >> that side of the vehicle that's struck is pushed in toward the occupant and your restraints tend to move out of the way. >> reporter: the most badly damaged, lexus i.s. even bmw, lincoln and mercedes failed. the infiniti g graded acceptable, the acura t.l. and volvo s hd 60 earned top ratings. >> volvo beefed up the top of the rail where this attaches. >> reporter: volvo not only added stronger supports at the corner, its safety cage grows gradually more rigid as it gets closer to the passenger compartment. its firewall barrier reinforced with ultra high strength steel. one automaker today claimed the test replicates an "unusually sever and uncommon crash," but the insurance institute says this visual evidence will inspire action. lexus has already said it will respond to the challenge. safety sells. jim avila, abc news, washington. now, we turn to the war that still has the world on edge.
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and the latest news from there tonight. syr syria, where the rebels are trying to take down a dictator president bashir al assad. today, the highest defector ever spoke out for the first time before switching sides. here's abc's martha raddatz. >> reporter: a serious ball of fire power in the streets of aleppo today, as assad forces appear to move street to street, leaving dead and wounded in their path. but beneath the show of force, the crash only grows. speaking for the first time since his defection, the former prime minister of syria said assad's control is crumbling. the regime is spiritually, financially, and militarily cracked riyadh hajad claimed. and it only contains 30% of
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syrian land. it is not clear that the claims are true, but what is true today, that the u.s. is not interested in establishing a no-fly zone over the skies of syria, like the one used so effectively to topple moammar gadhafi in libya. >> with regards to the no-fly zone, that is not a front issue for us. >> reporter: and it is no wonder. it would be a dangerous mission. syria has 20 times the number of surface-to-air missiles as libya did. its air contact far exceeds libyas. and its pilots are far more capable. and add to that, syria's population is three times that of libya. >> this is a country that if we, united states, is war weary, we have fiscal challenges to get into a middle of a civil war, we just don't see it happening. >> the u.s. is providing humanitarian aid and not lethal help. and officials again today insisted that eventually, diane, assad will fail. >> martha raddatz reporting in
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from washington. martha, we want all viewers to know that you've been chosen to moderate the vice presidential debates between joe biden and paul ryan. october 11th. all of us at abc news want to say big honor, really well-deserved. >> thank you. now, we're going to move on to a postcard from outer space. a postcard from mars. panoramic images streams in from the nasa rover curiosity. the first 360-degree view of the red planet. you can see a mountain range at a distance, and the sun, our sun, beating down at high noon. the images are high-resolution pictures that stitch together a kind of cosmic photographic quilt. and coming up, taking a sleeping pill and then getting behind the wheel? 30 minutes, 90 minutes, four hours on ambien. our reporter in a stunning test.
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hours on ambien. our reporter on a test. if you are one of the millions of men who have used androgel 1%, there's big news. presenting androgel 1.62%. both are used to treat men with low testosterone. androgel 1.62% is from the makers of the number one prescribed testosterone replacement therapy. it raises your testosterone levels, and... is concentrated, so you could use less gel. and with androgel 1.62%, you can save on your monthly prescription.
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throughout our lives. one a day women's 50+ is a complete multivitamin designed for women's health concerns as we age. it has more of 7 antioxidants to support cell health. one a day 50+. to support cell health. for many, nexium helps relieve heartburn symptoms caused by acid reflux disease. osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels have been seen with nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. talk to your doctor about nexium. this year, americans will fill about 60 million prescriptions for sleeping pills, including ambien, the drug that made headlines last month when kerry kennedy crashed her car on a highway. did you know that some sleeping pills can stay in your body for as long as 12 hours? so we wondered when is it safe to drive. we wanted to see it first hand,
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as tonight, abc's lisa stark taking a groundbreaking test. >> reporter: you are looking at the first test of its kind ever done in the u.s. >> i drifted off there for a second. >> reporter: i am in a driving simulator, swerving all over the road, nearly hitting a pedestrian, barely keeping my eyes open. >> ah. >> reporter: i am not drunk. i'm testing another type of impairment. driving on the nation's most popular sleeping pill, ambien, and its generic version zolpidem. there are cases all over the country. those who pop the pill on the way home, or try to drive too soon. and perhaps the most terrifying of all -- this new jersey woman had no idea she was even driving. she had taken ambien and alcohol, gone to bed, ended up on the road. a frightening case of sleep driving. >> you hit something with your car. >> reporter: with 60 million annual prescriptions for sleeping pills in the u.s., there's increasing concern. that's what brought us to the university of iowa and the nation's most sophisticated driving simulator. researchers watch my every move. >> we can see the speed of your vehicle.
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we have cameras pointed at your eyes and we're tracking the movement of your pupils. >> big moment, take my sleeping pill. the drug is designed to act fast. very fast. >> so it's been a little over 30 minutes since lisa took the medicine. >> reporter: only 30 minutes. >> i'm a little dizzy, but i think i can do it. >> reporter: i'm wrong. >> am i on the wrong side of the road? >> reporter: i am awake enough to know something's not right, but i can't help swerving all over the road. >> so this is very dangerous. >> she's really stopped blinking. >> reporter: an indication my brain thinks i'm asleep and that i don't need to blink. >> she's really just zoned out. she's sort of in la la land. >> reporter: after a nap, the maximum ambien stupor, 90 minutes in, i try again. >> i just fell asleep. i like totally fell asleep again. >> reporter: i tried to make a turn -- and then i smash into a big rig. >> if she was in a real car,
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this would be the end. >> that was like being in never, never land. >> reporter: after four hours, two-thirds of the drug gone, i think i'm okay, but see this red light, right through it. >> people who are impaired don't realize how impaired they are. they think they are driving fine but they are not. >> reporter: and remember the woman who never realized she was behind the wheel? i drove three times impaired but recalled only two. and the minute the car was turned off, i was out like a light. now, the pill's developer says it stands behind the safety of ambien when taken as directed, and there is a clear warning on the drug to make sure you get a full seven or eight hours sleep. but the pill doesn't really clear your system entirely for a good 12 hours. so, diane, the label also warning not to drive until you feel fully awake. >> fully awake. but what about these cases of people who didn't even know they were driving?
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what's behind that? >> well, what the manufacturer says is that they're abusing the drugs. they're using alcohol with it. they're taking too many pills. and it can happen with any sleeping pill. you have to be very careful. >> but you didn't remember one time you took the test? >> they told me i took four drives. i didn't believe it. but apparently, i did. >> all right. lisa stark awake and alert tonight. thanks so much for that. eye-opening. coming up here, first bill and hillary. tonight, a new clinton signaling she could be ready to run. chelsea's plan next. i finally understood what serious joint pain is like. i talked to my rheumatologist and he prescribed enbrel. enbrel can help relieve pain, stiffness, and stop joint damage. because enbrel, etanercept, suppresses your immune system, it may lower your ability to fight infections. serious, sometimes fatal events including infections, tuberculosis, lymphoma, other cancers, and nervous system and blood disorders have occurred.
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a tantalizing clue from chelsea clinton tonight. she has been famously private, but now in a new interview with "vogue," she seems to open a door to a life in politics, saying, quote, "before my mom's campaign, i would have said no to running for office and now, i don't know." and do you remember this laugh? [ laughing ] >> that's arnold horshack of "welcome back kotter." one of the sweathogs and the teacher who wouldn't give up on them. the agency launched the career of a 22-year-old john travolta. and the class clown horshack. >> ooh ooh ooh ooh. >> ron palillo later became a teacher himself. he died last night of an apparent heart attack. he was 63.
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♪ welcome back your dreams were your ticket out ♪ and when we return here, wedding interrupted. [ ringing ] >> oh, my goodness. >> you sent us a lot of stories about cell phones ringing, wedding, church, even "world news." [ kimi ] atti and i had always called oregon home.
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and finally, all day long, you've been telling us your stories about the price we pay for a hyperconnected world. sitting in some important event when into the silence, that tinkling, bugling, blaring cell phone rings. it even happened here last night. here's abc's nick watt. >> reporter: george stephanopoulos is a broadcast news behemoth. but on last night's show -- >> all right. thank you, george. that is politics, "your voice your vote" -- [ ringing ] >> and your cell phone. >> reporter: he was a cell phone sinner. >> the person you are speaking to should have your full attention. so, no cell phones. >> reporter: don't worry george we've all been there. even this man of god -- >> oh, my goodness, i scold people for that all the time. [ ringing ] >> reporter: and a fancy
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ringtone will only compound your pain. you, our viewers sent us you worst. tammy greenough's phone went off in church. ♪ baby baby baby tracie clarke's went off at her cousin's funeral. [ gentleman, start your engines! ] the lady beside her yelled, "praise the lord!" >> and there's another guy i'm sorry who i'm not going to name was in a bathroom stall when his phone rang. [ ringing ] >> his ringtone was "dust in the wind." oh, dear. >> reporter: okay. if your phone does ring at a bad moment, you can play cute like darin criss from "glee." you can roll with it like giuliani. >> this is my wife calling. hello dear. >> just turn it off and keep focused. by doing all of this you're just drawing negative attention to yourself. [ ringing ]
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>> reporter: sweetheart. i really can't work. i'm at work, okay? nick watt, abc news, los angeles. >> thank you, nick. by the way, george's call was his ride home after a long day. thanks so much for watching. be sure to tune in tonight for abc's groundbreaking series "new york med." 10:00, 9:00 central. of course, we'll see you right back here tomorrow night. until then, good night. new images from the chevron refinery and revealing what happened here, and what is holding up the investigation. >> flames continue to spread tonight. we'll show what temperatures are doing to hold the line. >> and abc 7 news gives access to napa state hospital.
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workers tell us they're still in jeopardy. >> the great marijuana myth what. legalization would really mean for the california economy. >> this shows safety inskbrorkts getting a look at the refinery in richmond and maybe some clues. there is good evening. the massive fire sent a massive cloud of smoke into the air and hundreds of people to the hospital with breathing issues and john, let's begin with you. >> and we learn that had there are seven investigators trying to figure out why chevron did what it did before and after the fire this, afternoon the safety board rele


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